Health minister warns of potential outbreak
BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
The Health minister has warned of a potential measles outbreak.
This is reportedly due to the drop in measles vaccination in children countrywide.
Health Minister Dr Culwick Togamana voiced this when addressing the recent commemoration of the World Immunisation Day in Honiara.
“We have another simmering issue at hand, that is the decline in childhood vaccination amid pandemic. For instance from over 85 percent coverage before the covid-19 pandemic, the measles vaccination coverage has gone down in all provinces,” Togamana said.
“In three provinces the coverage level is even less than 50 percent; this data indicate potentially high risk of measles outbreak soon if action is not taken,” he added.
The minister warns that measles is a killer diseases and it kills children compared to covid-19 which kills primarily vulnerable adults.
Togamana said 95 percent of measles vaccination coverage is required to prevent outbreaks.
“We could see rise of other infections if there is a measles outbreak,” he said.
He adds that an outbreak of whooping cough and rotavirus diarrhoea during the pandemic was also witnessed.
“Hence it is important that we continue to focus on routine childhood vaccinations,” Togamana said.
He said the ministry and partners are discussing conducting special activities such as measles immunisations and catch up campaigns.
“In the meantime, the would like to urge all parents to bring their children to the clinics for vaccinations and health staff to intensify their routine immunisation coverage,” he said.